Costly Mistakes to Avoid when Spearheading Change in a Manufacturing Organization

The adage that change is the only constant thing in life is perhaps more evident when it comes to running an industrial plant. Unlike retail systems, manufacturing facilities are dynamic and have to promptly reinvent themselves to remain relevant and competitive. Whether you are in the petroleum or mining niches among others, changes such as adopting new technologies and product redesigning are common. How you run such change processes will define the success or failure of the organization.

The sad thing is that many are the times when change managers make costly mistakes that compromise the entire processes and risk their companies. In this post, we will outline common mistakes that you should avoid when spearheading change in the manufacturing industry.

Failing to Craft a Clear Communication Plan for the Process

Change, no matter the magnitude, is aimed at replacing some components that your current staff is used to. Therefore, it is bound to be viewed with suspicion and generate some resistance. Even when your staff does not openly resist it, the resultant anxiety is likely to compromise the expected level of success. Failing to have a clear plan for communication before, during and after the changes could compromise the entire change process.

Your communication plan should seek to demonstrate the need for change, tell the staff their important place in the change process, and assure them of continuity after the change process. Once you assure employees of their roles, they will become part of the process and help to drive the change process.

Dictating Change to Your Staff

While it is true that your manufacturing unit requires change to succeed, trying to force it on staff could cause more harm than good. Once the changes are initiated, your workers start fearing they will be the ultimate losers. For example, a manufacturing unit introducing new machines and computing software can make employees think that new staff with more skills will be employed. Therefore, how should you do it?

The best method is preparing the staff before initiating the change process. Then, introduce the changes gradually to assure your staff that they will emerge better at the end of the change process.

Inconsistent Leadership during the Change Process

If your manufacturing system’s leadership is inconsistent, efforts to drive change are likely to fail. Leaders helping to drive change need to be cohesive, understanding, and approachable. Your staff should be able to identify with the leaders and feel free to seek clarification at any moment of the change process. Therefore, it is prudent to start thinking about your manufacturing unit’s leadership way before commencing the change process.

When running a change process in an industrial facility, it is important to think about your employees first. Then, ensure workers understand and become part of the change process.  The ultimate goal of the change process is getting a win-win situation for your organization and employees.

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